Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Salmon with Puff Pastry and Pesto

So I was trying to think of a nice dinner to serve tonight for Brian's birthday and came across this recipe from Giada's cookbook (Giada's Kitchen). This was SUPER easy and very tasty and looked really fancy without all of the fuss . . . I served it along with some fresh cooked spinach. Enjoy!!

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 (10- to 12-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup purchased pesto
2 tomatoes, sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray half of the foil with cooking spray.

Unfold the puff pastry sheet on a cutting board and use a sharp pairing knife to cut 4 equal squares. Prick each square all over with the tines of a fork. Arrange the pastry squares on the sprayed end of the baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Cut the salmon fillets in half crosswise to make 4 pieces about 3 inches square. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and arrange them on the other end of the baking sheet. Sprinkle each piece of the salmon with 1 tbs of the sliced almonds. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown and the salmon is firm.

To serve: place a piece of puff pastry on each plate. Top the pastry with 1 tbs of pesto. Arrange 2 slices of tomato over the pesto and top with the salmon. Serve immediately.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pan-Seared Scallops with Bacon & Spinach

This is a new recipe I found in my Cooking Light magazine and let me just say that it was fantastic!! A great addition to the dinner menu and something that was a little bit different than what we normally have.

3 center-cut bacon slices
1 1/2 lbs jumbo sea scallops (about 12)
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/4 tsp pepper, divided
1 cup chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, sliced
12 ounces fresh spinach
4 lemon wedges (optional)

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan reserving the drippings, coarsely chop and set bacon aside.

Pat scallops dry with paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/8 tsp of pepper. Add scallops to drippings in the pan and cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan and saute for 3 minutes stirring frequently. Add half of the spinach and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add remaining spinach and cook for 2 minutes or just until wilted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1/8 tsp of salt and 1/8 tsp of pepper.

Serve scallops on top of spinach and sprinkle with the bacon, lemon wedges on the side.

Bon apetit!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Private Chefs of Beverly Hills

If you haven't seen Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, I TOTALLY recommend it! I love the Food Network to begin with and saw a preview for this show so naturally I set my Tivo to record it and finally got around to watching the first episode last night. OMG, it was HI-LARIOUS!! The show follows 6 professionals chefs from a private chef-placement agency in Beverly Hills. Now since I grew up in LA, I know that there are some crazy and interesting peeps that live there, especially in Beverly Hills, but this blew me away. This first episode had private chefs catering a botox party, a party for dogs at a doggy spa (yes you heard me correctly, there is actually a dog spa in Beverly Hills called The Club) and finally a "glamping" trip which is a glamorous camping trip that included a group of millionaire guys!!! If you have some time def check this out, you will not be sorry!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tilapia with Tropical Fruit Salsa

I LOVE seafood but more often than not I just can't quite figure out what to season it or serve with. Well now I definitely have a very easy and tasty dish that is light and full of flavor. I discovered this on "Money Saving Meals with Sandra Lee" on the Food Network. She made the salsa to go along with shrimp skewers which is absolutely another seafood I would use but just didn't have in the house so I used it on top of the tilapia. This recipe will serve 2 people and you may have a bit of salsa left over that you can certainly enjoy with your favorite tortilla chips as a next day snack.


2 (4-oz) tropical fruit cups, drained (you can find these in the produce section)
1 tbs fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 jalapeno, ribs removed, seeded and minced
Kosher salt to taste

1 tbs olive or vegetable oil
2 fresh tilapia fillets
Kosher salt and pepper

For the salsa, chop the drained fruit into small pieces, almost the consistency of thick relish. Combine the fruit and the remaining ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until chilled.

For the fish, heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Season both side of the tilapia with salt and pepper. Once the oil is heated, place the fish in the pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Serve the fish with salsa on top and with steamed rice or your favorite veggie.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Chicken with Radish & Avocado Salad

Here is another tasty, simple and light dish to serve on a nice, spring evening . . .

1/4 cup olive oil (plus more for the grill)
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)
Coarse salt and pepper
2 or 3 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp cumin
1 bunch of radishes sliced thinly (I use the greens from the radishes as well)
1 avocado cubed

Heat an indoor or outdoor grill on medium to medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Lay the chicken flat and hold a sharp knife parallel to the cutting board, then slice the chicken in half horizontally so you have 2 thinner pieces of the breast. Cover with plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallot (or rolling pin) until about an inch thick. Drizzle about half of the dressing onto the chicken and then sprinkle with the cumin.

Oil the grill and then cook the chicken until done, about 2-3 minutes per side. In a medium bowl toss the sliced radish, greens and avocado with the remainder of the dressing. Serve the chicken topped with the salad.

Bon Apetit!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Favorite Frangrances

First Row
Hanae Mori Butterfly
Marc Jacobs Daisy
Ralph Lauren Romance
Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey

Second Row
Chanel Chance
Givenchy Very Irresistible
Versace Bright Crystal
Kim Kardashian

As summer approaches and after a recent trip to ULTA, I started thinking about my favorite perfumes over the years and thought I would share with you as well. These are just some of my favorites and there are many more out there that I would like to test out including Kim Kardashian's fragrance which I have heard good things about. Right now I use Daisy and Bright Crystal . . . what are your favorite perfumes?

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Search for the Wedge Sandal . . .

Michael Kors 'Juniper' Espadrille Sandal - $140
Stuart Weitzman 'Alex' Espadrille Sandal - $365

So lately I have been obsessing over the Stuart Weitzman sandals that Jennifer Aniston is wearing in one of my previous posts. Obviously I can't justify shelling out the almost $400 for them so I have been on the lookout for a better alternative. Last Friday during an afternoon of family shopping, I spotted these Michael Kors sandals that were pretty darn close and half the cost. I have yet to try them on and determine the comfort and cuteness level but it is definitely on my to do list. Now whether I purchase these or continue to be on the lookout for a better bargain . . . stay tuned!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Cookbook from Giada!!

Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California
The Food Lover's Companion

Last night I attended a demo at Williams-Sonoma featuring recipes from "Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California", which is the newest cookbook from Giada De Laurentiis. For all of my fellow food and/or cooking lovers out there, this is a great book to add to your collection. Although we only sampled a few recipes, as I browsed through the others, they all seemed to be simple ingredients with lots of flavor which is definitely my kind of cooking.

The recipes I had the pleasure of eating last night included the following:

Artichoke & Bean Crostini
Pea Pesto Crostini
Chicken Milanese with Tomato and Fennel Sauce
Bibb, Basil and Mint Salad with Parmesean Butter Crostini
Raspberry Pound Cake with Vin Santo Cream

These were all absolutely delightful and ones I would definitely make at home.

Another perk from last night was that we were offered 10% off in the store and I found myself purchasing yet another book called "The Food Lover's Companion". This is an awesome food dictionary that will tell you about any kind of ingredient you can think of, the history of it, how to store it and what substitutes you can use. I figured this was a must have in the kitchen for as much as I like to cook/bake.

Until next time my culinary companions . . . bon apetit!!